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Diabetes risk for obese mothers

Diabetes risk for obese mothers
Photo: Diabetes risk for obese mothers
Obese women who develop gestational diabetes while pregnant and put on more weight after giving birth are 43 times more likely to develop diabetes than slim women, a study has found.

The increasing prevalence of gestational diabetes parallels the worldwide epidemic of type 2 diabetes, the research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) says.

Gestational diabetes is a common pregnancy complication, and up to 18 in every 100 women giving birth in England and Wales are affected.

Previous studies have shown up to one-third of women with type 2 diabetes have a history of gestational diabetes during pregnancy and as a result, women with a history of gestational diabetes are usually advised to control their weight after delivery.

In this study, US researchers analysed 1695 women who reported gestational diabetes from 1991 to 2001.
They found there were 259 cases of type 2 diabetes during up to 18 years of follow-up.

There was an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes of 16 per cent for each increase of one unit in either their baseline body mass index or most recent BMI.

They also found that each 5kg increment of weight gain after gestational diabetes development was associated with a 27 per cent higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

And women who had a BMI of 30 or higher and gained 5kg or more after gestational diabetes had a 43-times increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with women who had a BMI of 25 or less at baseline and gained 5kg or less after gestational diabetes.

Researchers said those associations persisted across different categories of age, family history, diet quality, physical activity and breastfeeding duration.

"Our findings provide evidence to support the importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight in these high-risk women to prevent future development of type 2 diabetes," the study said.

The study was led by Dr Cuilin Zhang of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health in in Rockville, Maryland.


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